Screen your screen time to stay healthy

As I get final preparations completed for Connect More: A Screen-Free Week kickoff, I did some research on the impact of screens on health.

The usual came up: increased obesity, decreased physical activity, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

But I was surprised by a story out of the Fiji islands, that I share in this video. Also, Brian Adair of The Retreat at Center Hill Lake, who is co-hosting the event with me, shares some of the ways he and his family incorporate screen time in a healthy way.

How do you want to use your screens to improve your health — not derail your efforts?

My Screen-Zombie-Zone Story

I’m partnering with a local retreat center to host a Screen Free Week Kickoff Event. As we have been getting ready for this, we decided to ask each other some questions.

It brought up some “Well, this is embarrassing” moments … as well as remembering some times I’ve managed my screen-time well and motivated me to get back to it.

If you live in the middle Tennessee area, I’d love to have you join me on April 28, Sunday afternoon, to learn how to do your unique Screen Free week - plus walk, hike, and have a lot of fun together. (If you don’t live around middle TN, check out the Screen Free week website for events in your area.)

Here’s my “oops” story … (and a link to register for our Connect More: Screen-Free Kick off Event) - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/connect-more-a-kickoff-to-screen-free-week-tickets-59946971004


5 Challenges to Eating Healthy ... Solved

I asked my community in Facebook “What are your challenges to healthy eating?” — 5 clear responses came back.

  • Chocolate (well, not being able to stop eating chocolate)

  • Eating in moderation

  • Food/Diet Rules

  • Mindless Stress Eating

  • Eating late at night when you are hungry

You asked … I answered.

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A new twist on Mindful Eating

When you hear Mindful Eating what do you picture? A group of monks contemplating the grains of rice in front of them? Of course, it is not the other extreme of driving, yelling (in love) at your kids in the back seat to quit fighting, while eating the burger you picked up in the drive-thru.

Mindful Eating is not about having candlelight at every meal - but it is about the emotional environment you create.

Let’s go back to your high school biology class.  (I know: moan, groan.)  Remember the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?  Only one of these systems can be dominant at a time.  When you are agitated, excited, upset, in crisis, angry, or stressed the sympathetic nervous system is kicking into gear.  This means that the parasympathetic system is not able to function well.  You may recall that the parasympathetic system controls your digestive system.

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Uh, oh.  We have a situation.  The exciting movie you are watching with dinner, the argument you just had with your teenager, the mulling over what your co-worker did, the worrying about whether someone accepts you, or the report that is due at work tomorrow each keep you from digesting your food well. Even just looking at the picture above probably tenses your stomach.

Living in peace and joy is important anytime, but especially at mealtime!  God wants you to be healthy.  He knows that for you to digest your food well, which allows you to absorb the nutrients to “renew your youth,” you need to be joyful and peaceful when you eat.

This also includes allowing God to be the emotional lift that you need.  Many of us (especially those of us who were chronic dieters) have trained ourselves to dull (or distract) negative emotions through eating.  When you are angry or sad or bored, before you open the pantry out of habit, tell God what you are feeling.  Ask Him to show you how to process your emotions.  God will give you strength to tolerate the discomfort until it naturally passes, which it often does.  He will give you wisdom to change the thoughts causing the emotions.  He will show you answers to stressful situations.  God will heal your heartache.

4-in-1 Food Processor Recipes Part Two

Following the last post of questions to ask yourself to save time in the kitchen, here are the recipes I used. All of this created and cleaned up in (drum roll) 47 minutes!

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4-in-1 Food Processor Recipes Part One

A huge deterrent to eating healthy? CLEANING UP! That is definitely a part of cooking I don’t enjoy.

So, I’ve made a couple of videos to help you, using my Kitchen Aid food processor. This video takes you through questions to ask as you are planning your cooking.


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Makeover Your Pantry This Weekend Part Two

Now that you have the staples and spices you need to stock your pantry and you have the boxes/bins to organize them (Part One), it is time to invest part of a weekend cleaning out and organizing.

Why? It is so much easier to cook when you can get to everything you need quickly, without having to reach over other stuff or have things knock over.

So here’s your final step:

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  • Clean out everything that is expired or that you know you will never use.

  • Then group items into your bins, leave a little space for new foods you may purchase, and LABEL so everyone knows where to put food.

When my husband saw this transforming, he said two things -

“This makes it look appealing to cook.” (So, I get more help in the kitchen.)

“Now I know where to put something back.” (Which means I don’t have to look for things later.)



Makeover Your Pantry This Weekend Part One

This seems to be the time of year for deep-organizing house projects. It is too cold or rainy to be outside, or even open the windows, so everyone is cleaning out closets and junk drawers. I challenge you to makeover your pantry this weekend - it is one adventure that will help you eat healthier the rest of the year.

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To really deep-organize your pantry for healthy meals, I teach a simple six step process. You’ll need parts of two weekends, so I’ll walk you through this in a two-part series.

This weekend focus on Steps One - Five. Next weekend is Step Six.

Step One: Review your menus for a Powerful Plate. Do you have enough combinations of vegetable, protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates? What ingredients do you need to stock up on?

Step Two: Purchase the foods you need for a Powerful Plate and order any specialty items so they will arrive by next weekend.

Step Three: Look through the food in your pantry. Begin to organize it in your mind. What goes with what? For example, “protein powder” for me could go with protein snacks (since I use it as a shake) or with breakfast/oatmeal (since I use protein powder in my oatmeal every morning).

Step Four: Take measurements. Both of the shelf space and of any items that you are going to group and crate together. For example, if you usually keep 20 cans of fruit, vegetables, and tomato sauce in stock, measure how wide a bin you will need to store them.

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Step Five: Decide on the supplies you need and then go shop. Shelf liner? Plastic bins? Wood crates? Glass jars? Shelving unit pull-out for a deep pantry?

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Step Six - next weekend is clean out and organize.

Eliminating the hassle of expired ingredients - or simply not having healthy options on hand - will make these two weekends worth your effort. Turn on some music, get the family involved … whatever it takes to make it fun and make it happen.

Don't let this discourage you!

The Cleveland Clinic recently released an exercise study. Basics?

  1. Retrospective (so we’re looking at correlation, not causation)

  2. Results: People with elite fitness levels (2 standard deviations above the mean - a.k.a. off-the-chart) had significantly greater longevity (a.k.a. they lived longer) than moderately fit people.

  3. Their Conclusions: “Everyone should be encouraged to attain very high fitness levels.”

Yes and no. I have mixed feeling about their conclusions. If I were writing the conclusion, I’d say “Everyone should be encouraged to attain their personal best fitness level, knowing that fitness/longevity is dose-response. A 5 mile walk yields greater results than a 3 mile walk. But don’t be discouraged - a 3 mile walk is more effective than a 1 mile.”

Get it?

Here’s more …


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10 How To's for Heart Health

Celebrating National Heart Health Month … let’s talk about 10 ways to improve your heart health and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

  1. Step number one: When was your last annual check up with your doctor? If it has been over a year, stop reading this and call to set up your appointment. Getting your baseline “blood work” (blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.) and talking with your doctor about your heart health is foundational.

  2. While you are waiting for the appointment day, start walking 20 minutes a day for 3 days a week. In a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association even “1 hour of walking per week predicted lower risk” of heart disease.

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3. Got that baseline walking as a habit? Then let’s build up the walking to 20 minutes to an hour on 5 days per week. This will lower your risk even more.

4. Trouble fitting in the extra walking? No worries. Your heart doesn’t care how it gets worked, it just wants to get worked. Try cleaning house at a brisk pace or washing your car by hand or push mowing your lawn. Or try these other ideas.

5. Needing some family time? Playing tag and throwing Frisbees can get your heart pumping. (Especially if you are like me - walking to get it when I don’t catch it.)

6. Smoking? Exercise can help you kick the habit. Seek the help you need to stop.

7. An apple a day … or oatmeal … or beans … or nuts/seeds … or even avocados. These are all rich in the type of fiber that helps to lower “bad” cholesterol.

8. Laugh. A. Lot. It is great to help reduce blood pressure…which relates to #9.

9. Stress less. What are your stress triggers? How do you relieve stress? Stress comes at us all, so have a plan.

10. Strength train. Once you have your walking or other heart-pumping exercise in habit, add some strength training to increase your “good” cholesterol. Even two strength training sessions per week will help your heart health.

Questions? Let me know.

Fake It (til you make it)

Is it a waste of time to start a fitness plan?
Perhaps. (Heads up - I have a gift for you that will keep you from wasting your effort. Scroll to the bottom to get your gift.)

The truth is starting may be a waste, IF you start WITHOUT knowing what it takes to stick.

One of the reasons you start/stop/start/stop/start/stop is thinking it shouldn't feel weird ... that somehow a new habit should feel like second nature.

It won't feel normal at first. You have to fake it, at first.

(This video teaches you about the principle. The video below gives you some examples.)

Here are some examples of what you should expect to feel weird:
- Eating at the table vs. in front of the computer
- Walking for 1/2 of your lunch break instead of scrolling your phone
- Shopping in different parts of the grocery store
(There are more examples in the video)

Tired of wasting time with start/stop/start/stop?
I have a gift for you. 
The last 7 days of January, join me for 7 minutes a day to learn (and apply) the 7 principles to stick with your new habit until it feels like, well, like you've always done it.
www.thevireolife.com/7x7-fit

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3-in-1 Recipe for Cauliflower-Haters

I admit. I never thought I’d like immersion blenders (after a bad experience years ago). Now? It’s fun seeing what can be pureed.

This recipe has topped my list, because once it is made we eat it as soup, pasta sauce, or as a chicken sauce. Spicy - but not too spicy. Rich - but fresh and light. If you prefer chilled soups, this is probably not going to be a favorite. But who wants chilled soup in January, anyway?


Celebrate Finding Balance and Being An Inspiration

Yesterday I got to chat with a woman who is celebrating months of keeping weight off. She participated in a transformational multi-week course I taught and she changed her lifestyle.

She lives a busy life as a nurse. (In fact, we had scheduled to talk yesterday because it was to be her day off, but she got called into work and headed there immediately after we filmed this.) Her lifestyle had gotten out of balance during/after college and she kept putting on weight even though she was exercising.

Through teaching her the principles of Intuitive Eating, a Powerful Plate, overcoming barriers to change, and stress management - and her diligence to experiment with the lessons - she lost 15 lbs, kept it off even during the holidays, increased her energy, balanced her emotions, and has inspired her dad to change to a healthier lifestyle, too.

You can do the same.


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This Could Be You

Before the sun was up on New Year’s Day I was working with a very dedicated client. She has worked diligently and started this year, for the first time in her adult life, at her goal weight.

You can do it, too! Yes, it does take faithfulness - though a pre-dawn workout on New Year’s Day is not required.


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A lesson from my baby tooth

I was recently at the dentist creating a plan to extract a loose baby tooth and implant a permanent tooth. (As I write this, the tooth has been extracted and in a few months I will have the permanent one.)

I began thinking about the habits in our lives we have held onto for years that need to be extracted to make room for a better life.

What beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, habits, relationships do you need to let go? What do you need to permanently add?



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Healthy Make-up? Yep!

I enjoyed running into a friend of mine at a business seminar. (Full disclosure: she is a friend from whom I purchase some of my makeup and I get makeup advice from. So, a friend-visor?)

She graciously agreed on-the-spot to let me ask her some questions, unplanned, about healthy make-up. In addition, we talked about the ministry her business supports to rescue girls from sex-trafficking.

Here’s our conversation -


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Citrus and Tarragon Dressing over Salmon

Oh what a treat of a recipe this is. I use fresh tarragon grown in a pot, but you can use dried instead. If you don’t have fresh figs, then dried might do. Or berries - if you serve it over a salad instead of leeks. (I’ve never tried berries with steamed leeks, but it doesn’t sound appealing.)

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Recipe:

  • Salmon fillet

  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, 1 cup

  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • Fresh tarragon and parsley (a couple of tbsp minced each, to taste). A tiny bit of rosemary too, if you like.

  • Fresh figs, quartered

  • Served over steamed rice or cauliflower rice, with steamed leeks

Cook salmon fillets uncovered at 400 F for 15-20 minutes

Cook salmon fillets uncovered at 400 F for 15-20 minutes

Zest lemons, cut and squeeze juice into yogurt. Mince parsley, tarragon, and a bit of rosemary.

Zest lemons, cut and squeeze juice into yogurt. Mince parsley, tarragon, and a bit of rosemary.

After you top the cooked salmon with the yogurt dressing, place the salmon over cooked leeks (about 20 minutes boiling for the leeks). Then top with quartered fresh figs.

After you top the cooked salmon with the yogurt dressing, place the salmon over cooked leeks (about 20 minutes boiling for the leeks). Then top with quartered fresh figs.


Remember to take care of yourself during the holidays

You have a lot to accomplish during the holidays. To do that your #1 priority is to take care of your spirit, mind, and body.

When you don’t? Well, here’s an example from history of what could happen.


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Fun and funny ways to celebrate the holidays (and sneak in your exercise)

Don’t just sit and watch Christmas movies — get up and move with these fun ways to celebrate the holidays.

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9 Ways to Enjoy Rosemary

I trimmed back a rosemary bush and had to come up with several ways to use a ton of rosemary.

Of course, my favorite way is #9!